Why maybe you should think twice about a store charge card

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Why maybe you should think twice about a store charge card

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A company that studies the industry reports that store charge card generally have higher interest rates than other cards. Charges for some go up to 30 percent.

Store-branded credit cards have been charging higher interest rates than other card options, according to a report by a company that tracks the industry.

Now, you may want a store card for a number of reasons, but interest rates are not going to be one of them, said Austin-based CreditCards.com.

The worst offenders are Big Lots, which charges 29.99 percent, Zales, which charges 29.24 percent, and Staples, which charges 28.24 percent, the group said.

The average store card charges 23.84 percent. That compares with a national average for all credit cards of 15.22 percent.

Typical mortgage rates are below 4 percent. The prime rate — a short-term interest rate used by large borrowers on which many other rates are based — is about 3.5 percent.

The deals that lure customers to sign up for a store card are really not so generous, according to CreditCards.com: Half of the largest retailers give new cardholders a sign-up bonus, but only 13 have incentives of more than $25 for a $200 purchase.

“With their outrageously high (annualized percentage rates), most consumers would be wise to steer clear of these cards unless they’re 100 percent certain they can pay their balance off every single month,” said Matt Schulz, CreditCards.com’s senior industry analyst. “And even then, there are plenty of general-purpose credit cards with better sign-up bonuses.

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The highest rates for store charge cards

Retailer………………… APR*

Big Lots ………………..…… 29.99%

Signet Jewelers …………..29.24%

Staples …………………..…..28.24%

Ascena Retail Group…….27.24%

Apple Store / iTunes ……27.24%

Williams-Sonoma………. 27.24%

GameStop………………….. 27.24%

Ascena Retail Group……. 27.24%

Dick’s Sporting Goods …. 27.24%

TJ Maxx …………………….. 27.24%

Signet Jewelers …………. 26.99%

Lowe’s Companies……… 26.99%

J.C. Penney Co. ………….26.99%

*annualized percentage rate for a standard purchase

Source: CreditCards.com

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